Groove Boston MIDI Designer for iPad Interview

MIDI Designer iPad

MIDI Designer users and DJ duo GrooveBoston realizes that live electronic music is “less about how it’s created and more about how it’s consumed,” and it’s great to see them using the iPad in their shows! Here’s an interview with the two DJs on what they like about MIDI Designer and how they’re putting the fantastic MIDI controller app to use…

Tell us a little bit about you and your music!

Our goal for each show is to build a dramatic new reality for people, and where the music is at the absolute center of that experience. As DJs, we’re in a very cool position. We get to build the most dynamic, impactful set possible by combining the right parts of the right remixes of the right tracks from all over the world. In today’s fast-paced culture, people want adventure and variety, and a well-crafted, hard-hitting EDM set is a great way to deliver. We do a lot of prep work on each set, paying close attention to the broad flow of the night, and how different segments will lead into one another. Then we react to the audience during the performance, to make adjustments to this baseline as we go. The result is a deliberate, reactive, and AWESOME music experience. This year, our theme is VITALITY, and it’s all about channeling this dramatic energy (which we sharpened on last year’s VISCERAL Tour), in a positive way.

MIDI Designer or Lemur?

We are certainly MD fans. While the obvious differentiator is cost, if you have the time to play with MD you can yield some pretty powerful results. While the ability to manipulate Ableton with LiveControl 2 on Lemur looks pretty cool, we work out our custom edits and bootlegs ahead of time, so the need to manipulate Live isn’t really there. As far as aesthetics go, Lemur is way sexier, but since it’s mostly just us looking at the screens the whole time we’re not sacrificing too much.

Do you like the feel of using an iPad as a MIDI controller, do you see a future in touch screen MIDI controllers/instruments?

It depends on what function you’re triggering. For rhythmic, time-sensitive “button smashes,” we do love the feel of a rubber drum pad, as it feels like it was BORN to accommodate that sort of impact. For everything else, versatility is key, and the iPad has been extremely handy. The future of “glass cockpit” style music interfaces is bright and awesome — no question.

Tell us a little bit about your live set up – what role does MIDI designer play?

We’re running Scratch Live powered by a Mac Mini with an SL4, 4x CDJ200s, a DJM 900 Nexus mixer. We use Akai MPD18s for triggering cues and loop rolls (because we smash those the most often) and have an RMX1000 as an added FX unit. As if that wasn’t enough, we decided last year to incorporate two iPads with duplicated layouts in MD. We like to jump and run around a lot while DJing so it’s really nice that everything works the same on both sides of our “battlestation.” The iPads basically handle all the functionality of the sampler feature in Serato. It’s super convenient to have full control over a feature in Serato that typically takes up a ton of screen real estate moved onto its own space on the iPad. In addition to that, we duplicated all the cue point and loops in MD so we can run around the stage and still have access to our mix. This also allows us to DJ off stage, giving us an entirely new realm of how we can play with people’s expectations.

MIDI Designer gives us the control we need, and the style we love. It has become a central part of the GrooveBoston machine.

Are there any other iOS apps you use or are considering using in your live performances?

We’ve been playing with Serato Remote recently. It’s a sleek and simple solution for more traditional DJ setups, but we really like to dive into the nitty gritty programming elements with MIDI Designer. It’s nice that they added beat controls with the internal effects of Serato, but we’re so happy with the RMX and DJM effects that it mainly serves as a nice idea generator for what we’d like to create next in our custom MIDI Designer world.

MIDI Designer Pro on the
MIDI Designer Lite on the

Touch Music Podcast Episode 4

Download episode 4 here

Show notes:

Effect apps taking advantage of the Audiobus FX slot:
- Turnado
- AD 480 free / basic / pro
- Audio Mastering
Galileo Organ
Logic Pro X iPad Remote App
Article: Want to be able to downgrade your apps? Save ‘em before updating.
Tutorial: Moving Thor Patches Between Your iPad & Reason

BIOHAZARD for BeatMaker 2 iOS

Biohazard BeatMaker 2

Digital Resonance Audio BIOHAZARD for BEATMAKER 2

Free demo of the pack available here.

Exclusive to Intua’s Beatmaker 2 BIOHAZARD brings exclusively designed construction kits, patches, multi samples, single samples, synth loops, drum loops, single drum hits, fx and just about everything you will need for your Drum and Bass productions.

Utilising all the tools from the DigitalResonance studio and 20 years in the scene this pack contains the very best in terms of quality and usability.

Cutting edge sounds with a wide variety of styles incorporated into a pack that will enable you to have some of those classic sounds of the very early years all the way up to the sounds of tomorrow.

This pack is essential for anyone wanting to get into the art of Drum & Bass production with little or no experience and is sure to be a powerful resource for any seasoned pro.

See also: Check out this drum and bass BeatMaker 2 tutorial from Digital Resonance Audio themselves:

Live Performance feat. BeatMaker 2 & NLog for iPad: Gentry Not Like Me

An absolutely fantastic performance by Gentry!

BeatMaker 2 on the
NLog Synth Pro on the

Miselu C.24 – Bluetooth, ‘Expandable,’ iPad Keyboard

Finally! Portable Bluetooth iPad keyboards are beginning to surface! Enter the Miselu C.24! Remember the Neiro? It’s developers have put the project on pause, but “hope to resume android development when the time is right,” to develop what looks like the best solution for on the go keyboarding I’ve seen. MIDI Bluetooth support, all thought I’m not sure how it will work (something like BlueMIDI possibly?), will provide for a much more ideal ‘on the train’ studio setup, and will also free up your iPad’s dock. No more powered USB hubs or Camera Connection Kits and USB cables on the train. Just Bluetooth. Much more convenient and, most importantly, it will be much easier to capture inspiration.

The C.24 also has a space above the keyboard for expandable hardware control modules. 3rd parties will be able to create custom control modules designed specifically for their own app! A hardware extension of an iPad synth you can take with you anywhere… How cool is that?! What apps would you like to see a C.24 extension for? Leave a comment below! I wonder if Miselu will one day make a larger kerboard with the same expandable module concept, then developers would have loads of space to create physical extensions of their apps. Maybe we’d start to see a whole wave of module extensions for iOS synthesizers that replicate the knob/slider UI in the actual app. This could really bring iPad synth apps to life!

See also:

Check out this video demoing the sliding keyboard… genius!

C.24 featuring Nave Advanced Wavetable synth for iPad

Jinx Padlock Second Wave Assault EP & iOS vs. Logic Production Interview

iOS based producer Jinx Padlock (Twitter, Facebook, website) has been hard at work with a second EP since his debut release Colonisation. If there’s an artist using an iPad to talk with about what’s missing from iOS right now, it’s Jinx. Producing everything on his iPad, on the trains of London, Jinx Padlock makes some rather shocking sounds with just iOS. But lately he’s felt the need to stray outside the walls of the iPad for the mix. Here’s Richards thoughts on what’s missing from iOS, his workflow, and his plans for the future…
Download Second Wave Assault:

juno download


So, Second Wave Assault has arrived!

Yes, it’s been a fairly mad ride since Colonisation. Been doing a lot of remix work, which is starting to trickle out. Second Wave Assault was the first music I’ve made in this period that felt like actual work. Was very pleased to deliver it and unleash it into the wild.

What’s changed in the last 6 months?

Lots! Really wanted to focus on a harder dance sound for the second e.p. think I’ve achieved that, but had to stray outside of the iPad to do it. All the tracks sounds are iOS, it’s all put together in NanoStudio, but then the stems are mixed down separately and sent over to Logic for final mix down. I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to keep within the iPad, but unfortunately the raw firepower isn’t available yet. At Christmas I upgraded to the iPad 4 thinking that would allow me to have more scope in Auria, it was soon evident that 40 tracks of audio were still way out of its capability.

What does Logic give you that iOS based DAWs can’t?

It’s firepower, processors, the ability to handle serious compressors, limiters and monitor it real time. There’s nothing about VST that I miss, in fact when playing with a few VST instruments I got bored pretty quick. iOS is far better to interact with instruments, even in its relative infancy, we’ve got some pretty unique sounding synths and effects. I certainly won’t be migrating to the mac book pro for its synths. Another thing that bugs me about iOS is the sheer difficulty of moving files about, once I’ve NanoSynced over to the Mac, I can batch normalise, throw it into Logic and its all plain sailing. We still don’t have an all singing DAW yet, it’s always a switching app game. NanoStudio does all of it so nicely but still no MIDI out, that’s a big minus. So you go to Cubasis, great for the MIDI, but it’s audio tools suck, so you open BeatMaker, and quickly get out of before its interface makes you want to hurt something, so you go back to Auria and everything stops and you lose days of your life. I know that this will improve, got big hopes for NanoStudio 2, because Matt really nailed it the first time round, funny that Steinberg, with all their experience are still lagging behind. And bringing this back on topic, the iPad itself just needs more engine power. Would love to see some hybrid mash up of the MacBook Pro and the iPad. Bigger screens, loads of ram, haswell processors. It’s time for an iPad Pro!

Are there any plugins, apps or VSTs you’d like to see on the iPad?

We go back to the previous answer there, what we really need is hardware to make iOS music take the next step. Like I mentioned before, I find VST stuff pretty tame after out lovely touch screen, gyroscopic synths, but one synth that really got me excited was Cyclop from Sugar Bytes, that thing thinks well outside the box. I love stuff that’s not emulating systems from the past and Cyclop is the most futuristic synth engine I’ve ever used. It’s the only non iOS synth on the e.p., I used it in the banging club sequence in Soundwaves. So, as you can imagine, when I saw Turnado appear in the App Store I was a bit giddy. To me, Turnado represented the next wave of sonic power for iOS, this thing was no longer a joke. I emailed Sugar Bytes the morning I bought it, shaking with its awesomeness, asking if they would consider a Cyclop port. I got a favourable answer. There, until recently, was always a perceived problem with mastering, nonsensical to a point, since taking a stereo mix into Auria wouldn’t make it fall over and it has a pretty robust master channel strip. We’ve now got some other options, but I still can’t see a viable option over some of the desktop solutions available.

Has your workflow changed?

Yes, quite a bit. I’ve always been a very careful mixer, but knowing that I’m going to do a final pass in Logic makes the iPad mix more analytical. I’m much more tight on samples, kind of second guessing the problems later in the pipeline. I’m doing a lot of remix work for the label, and that’s all going through this process. There’s no way that I’d go pure Logic, still do a lot of it in public transport, for a start! The best thing is that it’s all still totally portable, I can travel with my iPad, MacBook Pro and a thunderbolt drive and make quality final mixes anywhere…

Talk us through the E.P.

Ok, well, the tracks are familiar to the SoundCloud audience, so I wanted to take it all up a notch. When I was mixing the first version of Soundwaves, I had it in mind to just make an arrangement that worked, but was keen to learn more about Logic. The demo of Soundwaves and the Second Wave Assault versions are vastly different. It was the tune that almost broke the camels back. I would do a night on it and send it to the label, then do another that was totally different. It must of given Spencer the fear, because I was freewheeling. Finally, 4 weeks later I had something that reflected exactly what I wanted to present, a tense ride with the euphoric highs in the right place, that never got cluttered or too aggressive, it’s the most focused JinxPadlock tune to date. Pinhead Safari is probably my favourite tune I’ve ever made, lots of old school fun. Did a lot of it after the Audiobus update to the Addictive Synth, that synth is ****ing awesome, really iPad specific, love the gyro tools. I built a couple of patches, then performed them live into Audiobus, that drop bass was captured live. Lots of fun. The breakdown was a lot of Animoog stuff. I’ve been accused of using a lot of presets and loops, think this proves otherwise! I Feel Dark is the oldest track on the EP, it’s a welcome relief in the scheme of things. It’s not the easiest of tunes to get on with, it’s got some sting in the tale! Done when Magellan was just released last year, I went mad with that synth, it’s still one if the best available on iOS, the last section of the tune is all Magellan, it sounds awesome. The Mighty Drom was the wild card, thought it was a tune to drop to other labels. Made it overnight in December, instantly thought it had underground club vibes. It really fitted at the end of this EP so there it is its basically a load samples layered to the hilt. The best part is when it breaks to the trance section, loads of iMS-20 stuff all came together. I was so happy with the NanoStudio mix that I was really cautious about the logic transfer. As soon as I had the izoptropic stuff going I was sold. Massive mix in Logic!

So, what’s next in the Jinx Padlock story?

There’s a lot of stuff going on, and it’s becoming less public. The next release will most definitely be a vocal tune, been working with a very talented vocalist in the states, a very productive collaboration so far, we’ve got a couple of absolute killer tunes in the wings. I’ve started gathering the parts I need for the album – that’s a much more prog-rock affair, there are serious hints on SoundCloud as to where that’s going, given myself a deadline to complete Project UTU, so there’s a sort of pressure on. Hoping to do another long form project based on the remix work I’m doing for Tactal Hots, again, early days, but plans are forming. Still want to take it live, but there’s only so much juggling of plate I can handle! I recently took a film job out in China, so that’s competing for my time a lot more than my usual posts! And, as always, more new iOS toys become available, so trying to get them incorporated into they JP sound. Nave turned out to be even better than I first imagined, Thor is awesome, I’ll keep spinning those plates and try and share as much as I can. Good times, let them roll…

Quick App Tip #27: Open iOS Synthesizer App Patches with iZip – No Computer Required

I’ve been asked this if this was possible multiple times which makes sense as a large percentage of my readers aren’t around desktop or laptop computers very much. If you’re on the move with just an iOS device and in need of some inspiration, you can unzip zipped preset packs (this listSunsine Audio, and App Sound are great sources for free and paid packs) with iZip and open them into certain synth apps using the ‘Open In…’ functionality in iOS. So far I’ve successfully tried this with NaveSunrizer, Sunrizer XS, Magellan, Magellan Jr - if you know of any other synths that can open patchs via ‘Open In…’ please leave a comment below!

Note: If Magellan / Magellan Jr presets aren’t appearing, try opening Magellan before opening the presets from iZip.